Credit: Urban Plates

Fast-casual restaurant Urban Plates is opening its third East Coast location in Bethesda, with plans to add Chevy Chase and Gaithersburg locations later this year.

The restaurant will set up shop in Westfield Montgomery mall, with a grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on March 11.

Urban Plates has a wide-ranging menu including salads, soups, sandwiches, entrees like grass-fed steak and striped sea bass, plus seasonal items that vary by location. Meals are offered at stations, customers grab a plate and get in their desired line where chefs serve the made-from-scratch dishes.

This interactive style allows diners to watch their food prepared in front of them, a “culinary theater” envisioned by founders Saad Nadhir and John Zagara, a publicist said.

“They really wanted to create an experience for the guests, that they can see the food made before their eyes, everything was going to be made from scratch and be good for people,” said Alexis Acebo of Bright Red public relations agency, representing Urban Plates.

Urban Plates began in San Diego and now has 13 restaurants there, along with East Coast locations in Columbia and Tysons Corner, Virginia. Ownership was attracted to Bethesda because of its warm atmosphere and focus on healthy eating, Acebo said.


“They really like to make people feel they’re at home,” Acebo said. “[We’re] finding those like-minded individuals who are health-conscious and looking to put something in their bodies that’s only going to make them feel better.”

Restaurants in Chevy Chase and Gaithersburg are expected to arrive near the end of 2019, Acebo said.

Silver Branch Brewing Co. opening Sunday


The brewery will join Denizens Brewing Co. and Astro Lab Brewing in Silver Spring.

Silver Branch’s opening was pushed back a few times due to construction and permitting delays, but the 8401 Colesville Road establishment will open at 1 p.m. March 3.

Co-owners Christian Layke and Brett Robison each have restaurant experience in Montgomery County and live in the Silver Spring area.


The brewery will have selections from Belgium, the British Isles, Central Europe and the U.S.

County Council members Tom Hucker and Hans Riemer have been invited to the opening celebration, according to Source of the Spring, which first reported the opening.

Wang Dynasty offers insight into menu options


The new owners will take over the former Shanghai Village space on Friday, and released an introduction of sorts on Monday.

Wang Dynasty will have aspects of the owners’ two previous restaurants, Shanghainese Pacifica Café and Taiwanese Michael’s Noodles. This will include dishes such as a fish filet with white wine sauce and Chinese squash with fired bread puffs.

Pacifica Café had party-style items that had to be ordered two days in advance, like the eight treasure stuffed duck, and Wang Dynasty will do the same. It will also have a weekend dim sum menu, including items such as soup dumplings, scallion pancakes and other pastries.


Perhaps most importantly to former Shanghai Village customers, the new restaurant will have Mai Tai cocktails, along with other signature drinks.

Wang Dynasty will have dine-in, carryout and delivery options.

Charlie Wright can be reached at